Leeds museum is home to century-old clock that will stir memories of seaside resort’s golden era

John McGoldrick with the restored clock.
John McGoldrick with the restored clock.

It is a timely reminder of an era when Yorkshire holidaymakers used to flock in their thousands to Morecambe.

The clock at Morecambe Promenade railway station was for many years a familiar sight for families arriving in the Lancashire seaside resort from the other side of the Pennines.

Today, though, it has a new home in Leeds, the city where it was made by the famous Potts and Sons company in the 1900s.

Owned by a private collector since the 1970s, the solid pine clock was purchased last year by Leeds Industrial Museum.

And now, after months of meticulous restoration work, it has gone on display at the Armley Mills-based museum.

The work was carried out by John McGoldrick, curator of industrial history for Leeds Museums and Galleries, with the help of volunteers Eric Robinson and Tom Precious.

John said: “It’s quite a proud moment to see the clock keeping time in a place where it’s surrounded by so many other examples of Leeds’s long history of leading the way in the fields of industrial and technological innovation.

“Potts and Sons started out as very much a local, family firm, but they became the benchmark for Victorian clockmakers and their creations were eventually installed at public buildings all around the world.

“This particular timepiece must have been one of the very first things that tens of thousands of people saw when they arrived at Morecambe for their summer holidays.

“It’s great to think that our visitors will get the chance to enjoy it now too.”

Established in 1833 in Pudsey, Potts and Sons supplied clocks for local landmarks such as Leeds Town Hall and the Corn Exchange.

The piece now on show at Leeds Industrial Museum is part of an interactive display that explores working patterns and how the growth of the railways created a need for standard time to be kept in different places across the country.

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “I’m sure visitors will enjoy seeing this beautiful timepiece back on display in the city where it was made all those years ago.”

For much of the 20th century, Morecambe was the preferred destination for Yorkshire holidaymakers during wakes week, the traditional summer mills shutdown.

The town was even nicknamed Bradford-by-the-Sea, with 135,000 postcards being sent back to addresses in Bradford during a single week in August 1935.